Many families with children often tell themselves that they don’t need a reason to go on a family vacation. They say it’s only for the kids and that’s it. There is plenty of evidence that suggests otherwise. In fact, there are many benefits to be had from a family vacation, whether you’re planning yours for the entire family or just for the kids.
For one thing, kids do wonderful things when they’re allowed to be involved in all parts of the planning. It’s amazing how much better family vacations become when parents allow their kids to be part of the process. Families who take part in frequent family vacations often tend to have happier residents, according to a recent study. Researchers suggest that family vacations can help foster key childhood values, foster greater social interaction, increase emotional well-being, decrease financial stress, and increase overall family happiness. Interestingly, the study didn’t focus on whether family vacation time should be for the whole family or just for the kids. But it did suggest that frequent family vacations can reduce the rate at which kids experience depressive disorders.
Many families take summer vacations and then winter vacations, but the benefits of vacations do extend beyond the seasons. Adults who spend a good deal of time on vacation seem to enjoy it more than those who don’t. A survey by the Consumer Electronics Association found that those who took vacations were more likely to have positive perceptions about technology and were more likely to be open to new experiences. (A similar survey, of adults who weren’t frequent vacationers, came up with similar results.)
One of the biggest benefits from family vacations comes from the increased income an extended family gets. The researchers who conducted this survey found that the average family vacation produces more income than a year at college. This is because the family vacation helps a family get away from work for several days, and income from working during the off-season is much less during these times.
Of course, one of the most important benefits of a family vacation is spending quality time with the kids. Kids from a young age have been found to be healthier and have higher test scores when they’ve been on vacation centers. (The same research found that homeschooled kids were healthier and scored higher on the math and reading exams when they went on family vacations.) And adults seem to have noticed that doing things together as a family on vacation days also improves their bond.
Research also shows that family vacations are important because they help kids be more independent. Children who go on family vacations are seen as more independent. They are found to be less likely to feel the need to have other people to assist them in activities, and they tend to do better in school. (The researchers who conducted this research find that kids who spent at least four hours a week at their summer vacation centers are less likely to engage in alcohol or substance abuse.) Research also shows that kids from family vacations are less likely to have serious behavioral problems as adults. (This research is based on an Australian study; however, all parents will probably agree that kids who spend more time with their families enjoy more success in school.)